Gear Up To Make Your Ride Better
Motorcyclists of today have come across the term ATGATT at least once, if not all the time. ATGATT stands for All The Gear All The Time, which is self-explanatory. A motorcycle is an unstable identity which becomes whole only when the rider takes charge. Even on the move, the bike is stable, not safe. Which is why apparel like helmets, riding jackets and pants, gloves, boots et al came into existence. Over decades of extensive and exhaustive testing both in motorsports and on public roads, today’s riding gear manages to help the rider emerge unscathed from all but the most unavoidable disasters.
Riding gear makes you safer while out on the open roads with your beloved motorcycle, but there are other ways it helps too. Let us discuss how it improves a motorcycling experience. To begin with, even a pair of decent riding gloves can alter your riding experience. A vibey motorcycle tends to numb your fingers out pretty soon. The riding gloves absorb most of the vibrations, keeping your palms relaxed.
A riding jacket instead of a tee or shirt is immensely helpful in more ways than one. Firstly, it makes you look cool. Secondly, due to its construction, design, and purpose, it is a heavier piece of apparel to wear than regular tees. The armour present inside the jacket and its many adjustable cinches enable you to tighten it around your body. A tight-fitting jacket won’t flap around in the wind, shielding you from windblast on the chest as well as noisy distractions while riding.
If you have ever ridden at high speeds wearing just a shirt or tee you will have noticed these clothes ride up your back and flap violently. Even worse, the shirt’s collar is buffeted by wind and ends up slapping against the side of your face. Wouldn’t you rather avoid it by wearing a tight-fitting jacket?
A pair of riding pants is as critical to your riding as the jacket. Featuring armour, ventilation, and tough fabric, riding pants serve multiple purposes than just lower body protection. If you are one of those people who started motorcycling out of sheer passion and started adding riding gear to your essentials later, you will have noticed a tangible difference in your experience prior to the gear and after it. Simply put, over a long ride that could take more than a week, you would have been forced to carry enough clothes, and mostly denims in your luggage to wear all day. A pair of riding pants in your essentials means you only need to carry one, perhaps two pairs of jeans, considerably liberating space in or lightening up your luggage.
A helmet, without question, is critical to preserving your head which operates your entire body. While it does keep your grey matter where it is supposed to be, riding without a helmet (strongly discouraged) will certainly open your eyes to what other advantages it possesses. For one, wind noise is entirely cut out with a good aerodynamic helmet. You begin to attune to ambient sounds, becoming more aware of your surroundings as well as your bike’s many aural outputs. The helmet enhances your focus and eliminates unnecessary noises clouding your ambient inputs.
The most important piece of riding gear to get after a helmet is riding shoes, contrary to popular belief. Your legs are the most vulnerable while riding, and absolutely precious organs that are able to operate a motorcycle. Sure, people who have lost legs or born with undeveloped ones have tamed motorcycles. However, if you possess a perfectly fine pair of legs, there is no reason why you should squander them by prioritising other parts of your body.
Remember, blood vessels, skin, muscles, even bones can heal. Severed or crushed limbs are irreplaceable. A good pair of riding shoes not only protects your lower limbs but also insulates them from ambient temperatures and flying debris. In the worst case scenario, if you find your legs pinned under a fallen bike, you will thank yourself immeasurably for having invested in riding boots well in advance.
Safety is indeed what riding boots were built for, but they also improve your riding experience. If you are in tune with your motorcycle, you can gauge its present situation just by getting a feel for vibrations that transmit through the foot pegs. Thin-soled racing shoes eliminate unnecessary vibes, only allowing you to feel what the bike’s mechanicals are up to through the pegs.
On the other hand, on a long day on a motorcycle where you need to conserve energy to last until sunset, thick-soled adventure boots do not let any vibes creep through to your feet. The less you are exposed to the elements and vibrations, the fresher you remain on the bike. This, in turn, helps you concentrate on nailing that upcoming hairpin without having to fend with vibey pegs.
It cannot be stressed enough just how important riding gears are. They obviously make you safer on a motorcycle. Spend enough time wearing them and you will realise that they enhance your riding experience, allowing to become one with your motorcycle by cutting out forces out in the open that would otherwise hinder you were you not clad in the gears. Which is why they say ATGATT: All The Gear All The Time.
Featured Image: D3O